Evid Based Nurs 2:73 doi:10.1136/ebn.2.3.73
  • Treatment

Antenatal oral dexamethasone for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome increased neonatal morbidity

 Question Is antenatal oral dexamethasone as efficacious and safe as intramuscular dexamethasone for reducing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome?


Randomised controlled trial.




170 women who were 24–33 weeks gestation and had preterm labour, preterm rupture of membranes, or a medical indication for delivery. Women were excluded if they had previously received corticosteroids during the pregnancy, had received anticonvulsant treatment or rifampin, had an infection other than cystitis or cervicitis, had advanced cervical dilation (≥5 cm), or had known fetal pulmonary maturity through amniocentesis or vaginal pool sampling. 5 women were unavailable for follow up.


Women were allocated to dexamethasone, 8 mg orally (n=92) or dexamethasone, 6 mg intramuscularly (n=78) every 12 hours for 4 doses. The regimen was repeated weekly until 34 weeks gestation if delivery had not yet occurred.

Main outcome measures

Main outcome was neonatal …

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